QUINCY, Ill. (Feb. 28, 2001) — Farm and OTR tire and wheel maker Titan International Inc. suffered an $8 million loss in the fourth quarter, but reported $4.5 million in net earnings for year ended Dec. 31 on the strength of proceeds from the sale of assets.
Titan President and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. blamed the U.S. economic downturn in the fourth quarter for the loss, which was $2 million more than a year earlier.
Fourth quarter sales of $113.4 million were 15.6 percent lower than in 1999, although on a pro forma basis — i.e., accounting for the sale of certain consumer tire and wheel assets to Carlisle Tire & Wheel — sales actually were marginally ahead of 1999.
Titan did increase sales in its largest sector, the agricultural market, during the fourth quarter, to $65.6 million from $57.8 million in 1999. The 13.5-percent upswing in sales was a marked recovery in a sector that declined severely, especially on the original equipment side, the year before.
``Titan has positioned itself to take full advantage of an upturn in the agricultural, earthmoving/construction and consumer markets in which the company participates,´´ Mr. Taylor said.
Earthmover and construction tire and wheel sales remained relatively flat during the quarter, while consumer market revenues dropped to $11.5 million from $40.1 million in 1999.
The diminished consumer product sales are based on the April 2000 sale of Titan´s OE consumer tire and wheel business — including lawn and garden and all-terrain vehicle tires and wheels — to Carlisle Companies Inc. The transaction — which included Ttian´s Clinton, Tenn., tire plant and its Slinger, Wis., wheel factory — was valued at about $95 million.
For the year, the company had a net income of $4.53 million, up from the $11.4 million loss it posted in 1999. The net income figure includes a second-quarter gain from the Carlisle transaction, Titan reported.
Net sales for 2000 were down 7.6 percent, to $543.1 million from $588 million. Pro forma net sales for the year would have been $512.4 million compared to $499.5 million in 1999, had the Carlisle sale taken place on Jan. 1, 1999, Titan reported.
Year-long tire and wheel revenue increased 11.1 percent to $283.1 million in the agricultural segment and 3 percent to $162.6 million in the earthmoving/construction market. Consumer market sales plummeted 44.5 percent to $97.4 million, again primarily because of the Carlisle deal.
Titan also has been dealing with strikes at two of its tire plants since 1998. United Steelworkers locals in Des Moines, Iowa, and Natchez, Miss., struck against the company on May 1, 1998, and Sept. 15, 1998, respectively.